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Illinois Coaching Search Update: is Houston coach Tom Herman an option?

We continue to follow potential coaching candidates for the Fighting Illini this coming offseason as we track their teams throughout the 2015 campaign.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that Illinois is already beginning to look for a new head coach following the abrupt firing of Tim Beckman one week before the beginning of the 2015 season. The list of potential candidates seems to be growing by the week as more and more head coaches at lower-level programs start to make a name for themselves. Let's continue to look at the work their teams have done through the sixth week of play.


Justin Fuente, Memphis (5-0)

Week 6 Result: N/A (Bye Week)

The Tigers were on bye this week, but remain undefeated and atop the AAC. They will have a huge game against No. 13 Ole Miss next Saturday.

Dino Babers, Bowling Green (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Win, 62-38 vs UMass

The Falcons offense continued to roll this week in a blowout victory against UMass at home. After dropping two out of their first three games of the year, Babers' squad has rattled off three straight wins and will welcome in 2-4 Akron next Saturday. A win against the Zips would put Bowling Green within one victory of postseason eligibility already.

Tom Herman, Houston (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Win 49-28 vs SMU

Tom Herman, a year removed from being the offensive coordinator at Ohio State, has Houston rolling to start the 2015 campaign. The Cougars have yet to drop a contest, and have won nearly every game in blowout fashion. Their offense ranks in the top five in the nation in almost every statistical category, and they were also voted into the AP Top 25 for the first time in four years. The biggest question from Illinois' point of view would be whether or not they could lure Herman away from Houston, seeing as he just became the head coach prior to this season. The Cougars will travel to Tulane next Saturday and if they can pull off the road victory, they will already be bowl-eligible.

Bill Cubit, Illinois (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Loss, 29-20 at Iowa

It was a tough road loss for the banged-up Illini, but not one to hang your head about. The team fought back from a ten-point deficit in the second half and had a chance to put together another game-winning drive when freshman running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn fumbled with under two minutes to go. Cubit made several questionable play-calling decisions for the second week in a row, and while the team is certainly more competent than it has been in years' past, it looks doubtful that Bill will be signed on as the long-term coach in Champaign. Next week the Illini will have a bye to try and heal up for Wisconsin the following Saturday.

P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan (2-3)

Week 6 Result: Win, 41-39 vs Central Michigan

The Broncos were able to narrowly escape the Chippewas this past weekend, but the game was not as close as the final score indicated; Central Michigan scored 23 fourth-quarter points to turn what looked like a blowout into a close contest. It has been an up-and-down beginning to the 2015 season for Fleck's team; they have rotated losses and wins since the year began. Next week they will travel to take on Ohio for more MAC-tion as they try to move into a tie for first place in the Western Division.

Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Win, 58-28 versus Middle Tennessee State

Speaking of high-powered offenses, here's another one. The Hilltoppers hung 58 points on MTSU, a team that looked like one of the better non-power five squads in the country (and nearly beat Illinois). That's Western Kentucky's third-straight victory and fifth overall, putting them within one game of bowl eligibility already. Brohm's group ranks near the top of the country in almost every offensive statistical category, and they will travel to play North Texas next weekend before a huge game against LSU looms a week later.

Rod Carey, Northern Illinois (3-3)

Week 6 Result: Win, 59-41 versus Ball State

It has been a rollercoaster ride of a season already for the Huskies. They started off 2015 strong with two straight decisive victories, but then dropped two straight road contests (albeit one of them by seven points to No. 1 Ohio State). They started to get things back on the right track this past Saturday when they put up 636 yards of total offense against Ball State and hung 59 points on the scoreboard. Carey's offense is another impressive one on this list of candidates, but his team will need to make a big second-half push to reach the postseason. They play at Miami of Ohio next Saturday.